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Keratoconus (pronounced kuh·ruh·tow·kow·nuhs) is a progressive eye disorder that affects the cornea, the clear front part of the eye. In this condition, the cornea gradually thins and bulges outward, forming a cone-like shape. This irregular curvature can distort vision, causing blurred sight, double vision, and sensitivity to light and glare.

Causes:

While the exact cause of keratoconus is unknown, it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It typically develops in the late teens or early twenties and can progress for 10 to 20 years before slowing down.

In the early stages, keratoconus may cause mild astigmatism or nearsightedness, which can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. As the condition progresses, the irregular corneal shape becomes more pronounced, leading to more severe visual distortions, ghosting or multiple images, and sensitivity to glare and light.

Management:

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to preserve vision and prevent further deterioration. Keratoconus can significantly impair vision and affect daily activities if left untreated.

Corrective lenses, such as glasses or specialized contact lenses, can manage keratoconus in the early stages. As the condition progresses, more advanced treatments may be necessary. Here are some possible treatments.

1. Corneal Cross-Linking:

This minimally invasive procedure strengthens the corneal tissue by applying riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops and activating them with ultraviolet light. Cross-linking can halt the progression of keratoconus and prevent further corneal thinning.

2. Intacs or Corneal Ring Segments:

These small, clear plastic inserts are placed in the cornea to reshape and flatten its surface, improving vision.

3. Corneal Transplant:

In severe cases where other treatments are ineffective, a corneal transplant (keratoplasty) may be recommended. This surgery replaces the damaged cornea with a healthy donor cornea, restoring vision.

4. Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses:

These specialized lenses can help correct the irregular corneal shape and improve visual acuity.

While keratoconus cannot be cured, early intervention and appropriate treatment options can effectively manage the condition, improve vision, and maintain quality of life. Regular eye exams and close monitoring by an ophthalmologist are essential for individuals with keratoconus to preserve their sight and explore the best treatment plan. Contact us for more health information about your eyes.

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